Chester council admits wrongly claiming potholes had been fixed
Cheshire West and Chester Council blames ‘slight administrative error’
Cheshire West and Chester Council blames a ‘slight administrative error’ for wrongly marking potholes reported to the ‘Fill That Hole’ website as fixed.
In March the site ranked CWaC number four in a league table of more than 200 highway authorities when it comes to filling in holes, with an enviable 99% fix rate.
But a Chronicle reader tested the online system, compiled by the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), and reported a pothole on March 7 only to find CWaC had marked it as ‘fixed’ the very next day.
In fact the council did visit the site on March 8 but the inspector decided it was a non-actionable pothole. In fairness, the hole was patched later that month as noted by the complainant on March 20.
Maria Byrne, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s director of place operations, held her hands up.
She said: “There was a slight administrative error with regards to some pothole enquiries logged via the CTC/Fill That Hole website in that some were logged as fixed when we visited those sites, which inadvertently closed down the enquiry, and not when the repair was completed.
“We are happy that we have put procedures in place to make sure this doesn’t happen in future and a programme of retraining has been undertaken.”
CWaC’s pothole record has come under scrutiny during a harsh winter that has led to a rash of new holes, sparking constant gripes from drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists.
And an attempted PR offensive went wrong when the authority posted a photo on Twitter of ‘inspector Darren’ deciding not to fix a reported pothole ‘at this time’ even though it appeared in need of repair.
This led a curious Chronicle reader to examine the council’s performance more closely.
He said: “I saw your report on the CWaC pothole tweet and read further down that CWaC are ranked highly onfor fixing potholes.
“If you dig deeper on the website though, you’ll find that most of the ‘fixed’ potholes haven’t had any repairs done to them at all. If you report a pothole on the website, the council will mark it is ‘fixed’ almost immediately followed by a reply saying they will inspect it at some point in the future.”
CWAC has now slipped to 12th in the league table of councils with a still respectable 95% fix rate. In 2011 the Cyclists’ Touring Club actually named CWaC the country’s top highways authority for fixing potholes.